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Commission To Reevaluate 'Healthy Campus' Project In Kansas City, Kansas

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Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas
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The 'Healthy Campus' project planned for downtown Kansas City, Kansas, called for a grocery store, parks and an expanded YMCA.

A major project designed to help improve community health in Kansas City, Kansas, has been put on hold, and local leaders will meet Thursday evening to discuss its fate.

The Healthy Campus project envisions a grocery store, expanded YMCA, farmer’s market and additional housing in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, and it was a top initiative of former Mayor Mark Holland.

But under the leadership of the man who defeated him, David Alvey, the Wyandotte County Commission will reassess the plan.

Jon Stephens, head of the Unified Government’s economic development department, says the commission will consider the project’s components separately, with top priority given to the grocery store.

“It really is not a true change of direction. It’s a change of process and how we look at accomplishing this,” Stephens says.

Holland unveiled the idea in a State of the Government address in 2014.

The commission will focus on securing a developer and operator for the grocery store and could evaluate locations in northeast Kansas City, Kansas, beyond the downtown area.

“That may or may not include looking at other, more preferable sites or maybe slightly different configurations of the grocery store,” Stephens says.

Several areas in Kansas City, Kansas, are considered by health experts to be “food deserts,” meaning they lack stores that offer healthy and nutritious foods.

The city has spent about $600,00 for planning on the project. Various partners have pledged funds to help pay for the estimated $37 million cost.

Alex Smith is a health reporter for KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @AlexSmithKCUR

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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